King of the Kitchen
Louisville chef Moore
makes name for himself
The Volare co-owner grows
own veggies at Taylorsville farm
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (July 2014) “There’s nothing I’m more passionate about than cooking,” said Josh Moore, Executive Chef and business partner of Volare Italian Ristorante, 2300 Frankfort Ave., in Louisville. From a very young age, this Louisville native knew his heart would always be in the kitchen.
When in kindergarten, he would change the TV channels from cartoons to cooking shows, something very unusual for a 5-year-old to do. Now at age 34, he is an experienced, self taught and much sought after chef.
chef and co-owner Josh Moore this year was named Louisville’s Restaurateur
of the Year.
“I’ve had no culinary or formal training,” said Moore, 34. Experience has been his best teacher. At age 14, he was already hard at work in a professional kitchen.
Moore started his career in 1993 as the Assistant Pastry Chef at Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant in Louisville. He progressed to Sous-Chef-Pastry Chef at Porcini’s in 1995 and as Pastry Chef at Wildwood Country Club in 1996, perfecting his skills along the way. He was the Executive Chef at Café Emile from 2002 to 2005.
He has whipped up dishes for Muhammad Ali, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Drea de Matteo, Micheal Imperioli, the Prince of Monaco and UK Coach John Calipari and the entire 2012 UK Championship basketball team – a pretty impressive list for someone with no formal training.
On Aug. 9, Volare Italian Ristorante will have been open for a decade. Moore came on board as a chef in 2005, and three years later as a partner in the business to “further my career.”
It’s easy to see that he loves what he does for a living. In 2005, he bought a 10-acre farm in Taylorsville, in Spencer County, Ky., where he raises the vegetables he uses in his restaurant. His girlfriend, Lindsay Franzen, helps him tend the vegetable gardens – quite a full-time job in itself.
He started his garden with a couple of dozen tomato plants. He has since grown to cultivate 600 heirloom tomato plants. “It’s enjoyable to be able to be hands-on with the product, going from seed to table. It’s been a learning experience.”
Moore said he tries to expand his garden every year. He said he has received a lot of advice from local farmers in the Taylorsville area. As if he weren’t busy enough raising acres of vegetables and working at Volare, the couple is also renovating a 110-year-old farmhouse where Moore lives with his 5-year-old son, Gibson.
He said the Spencer County Cooperative Extension Office has “been a great resource for me.” Through the extension service, he has participated in such events as Farm to Table dinners, gaining valuable experience.
Moore has been a promoter of certified Angus beef since 2010. In 2012, he was asked to be a brand ambassador chef. This has afforded him the opportunity to promote certified Angus beef on TV morning shows, news spots and appear in different venues as a chef to represent beef in the marketplace.
In June, Moore returned from Oranjestad, Aruba, where he took part in chef events at Bones & Brews at the Renaissance Resort. “I was a celebrity chef for 10 days,” said Moore. “It was a great opportunity and fun to just jump off a plane and jump into the kitchen.”
He participated in other events while there and said it was “inspiring to meet chefs in another part of the world.” For Moore, cooking is a combination of creativity, artistry, skill and passion.
Two years ago, Moore made Business First’s “40 Under 40” list. This year he was named the Restaurateur of the Year by the Kentucky Restaurant Association. He said he was chosen because of “a culmination of everything, from charity to community work that I have done.”
Moore was nominated by his peers. “We have a large board of directors who look at the nominees in each category,” said Stacey Roof, President and CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association. The association is the trade association for the restaurant industry.
In all the categories, “Josh hit everything,” she said. “It was a hands-down selection they made.”
Roof said Moore is a very humble person. “There’s not just one specialty he’s known for. A lot of chefs have multiple talents, but he can do everything.”
Winning this title “means a lot to the chef,” said Roof. “This is not a popularity contest. It holds value because their peers select them.”
In 2013, Moore made NFocus magazine’s “New Faces of Philanthropy” list. He has been involved with organizations such as Kosair Children’s Hospital, Dare to Care and Guardia Care.
His dedication to give back to the community has also allowed him to work with March of Dimes since 2008 as the Lead Chef for their annual Signature Chef Auction event. “It’s a great cause,” he said. “It’s a great organization and I like supporting it.”
Last year, Moore had the chance to visit the James Beard House in New York City and cook up a large dinner. He took vegetables from his farm and in doing so was able “to take a little bit of Kentucky with me.”
Moore has been a regular on the television show Secrets of Louisville Chefs. He is serving on the board for the Kentucky Restaurant Association along with being chair-elect for 2014.
Moore said Volare has recently begun developing outside catering. His future plans include “continuing our success here at the restaurant and growing.”
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